FACING STARVATION: Norman Borlaug and the Fight Against Hunger by Lennard Bickel

FACING STARVATION: Norman Borlaug and the Fight Against Hunger

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Borlaug is the agronomist who in 1970 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his crusade against world hunger. Father of the ""Green Revolution,"" Borlaug began his fight to double and treble the world's supply of wheat in a pioneer Rockefeller Foundation program in Mexico in 1944, The experimental acreage in Mexico's Yaqui Valley became Borlaug's laboratory for producing the rust resistant hybrids which in a dozen years increased yield per acre from 10 to 60 bushels. Mexico became the launching pad for carrying the new dwarf and semi-dwarf wheats to South America, India and Pakistan. Everywhere he went Borlaug trained ""apostles"" to carry on his work. None of it came easy. Bickel who is not an inspired biographer does convey Borlaug's passion. The man's missionary zeal explodes as he berates and bullies tradition-bound administrators and lethargic government officials, shouting the urgency of his message. Tremendous increases in productivity have been achieved, but Borlaug's predictions for the future are dire: as of January, 1974, wheat shortages are acute thanks to the population bomb, lack of international storage programs, and the energy crisis which is affecting the production of essential nitrogen fertilizers -- Borlaug thinks 50 million people could starve this year. Alas, the book which discusses plant pathologies and cross-pollination in minute detail is far less galvanizing than the man -- however much one may admire him.

Pub Date: June 27th, 1974
Publisher: Reader's Digest Press--dist. by Dutton